Thursday, 28 November 2013

Golden Time - Episode 9

Banri's subconscious outburst at the end of last week's episode of Golden Time certainly made his feelings clear, if only to us as onlookers (and most likely to Linda as well) - but were we the only ones to hear those words?

As night turns to morning and a sluggish Banri sleeps in as the other party-goers in his room leave, Koko seems to be far from her usual ebullient self, and when classes start up again she's nowhere to be found having stayed home with a cold.  As minor ailments go it seems to be a long-lasting one, and even when she does return to the college she's still a shadow of her usual self - quiet, unsure and easily distracted.  When a festival club meeting brings Linda into the picture, it soon becomes clear what is really paining Koko, and after an awkward practice session the walk home with Banri leads to Kaga pouring her heart out about her worries without ever directly touching on the obvious fact that she overheard Banri and Linda's prior conversation.

It's thoughts of Linda that we stick with for much of the remainder of the episode however, as we slip back into Banri's past and another pivotal occasion in his prior relationship to her.  This particular story concerns her brother, and more importantly his fiancee - when Linda suspects that she's cheating on her brother, Banri offers to help obtain the evidence required to out her, before Linda changes her mind and instead opts for a more "grown-up" approach to handling the situation.  The aftermath of this puts Linda and Banri closer together than ever, and it seems as if these deeply held memories are about to come flooding to the surface, from Banri's "ghost" into the young man himself.

Although I still like quite a lot of what Golden Time is doing in isolation - even the memory loss stuff is at least working reasonably well within the show's wider framework - its presentation still feels lacking in ways that I can't quite put a finger on.  It's almost as if it shies away from really grappling with the full emotional range of its characters - just as we get another glimpse into Koko's psyche we're whisked away elsewhere, and the rest of the cast keep their cards close enough to their chest that we're rarely even granted that.  Luckily I like most of the main cast of characters enough to persevere and still gain some enjoyment from watching how things pan out, but the nagging sensation that Golden Time should simply be better at what it's attempting persists like a ghost in the back of my own mind.

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